PeopleSoft Adds XML to Business-to-Business Apps

PeopleSoft Inc. is looking to Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the way to move its applications to the Web for business-to-business transactions.

With the debut last week of the PeopleTools 8 suite, PeopleSoft is guiding users toward a less expensive and less difficult form of electronic data interchange, said Jim Littlefield, the Atlanta-based director of marketing at PeopleSoft. The vendor's clients have been urging it to embrace XML.

"I would say that XML adoption [among customers] is moving very fast," he said.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) vendors such as PeopleSoft and SAP have to move quickly to keep up with the XML stampede, said Katherine Jones, research director, enterprise business applications, at the Aberdeen Group, in Boston.

Support for XML is "absolutely critical" for PeopleSoft and its competitors because XML will become the unifying standard for supply chains.

"It's the kiss of death if they don't support it," Jones said. "I don't know any major [ERP] vendor who hasn't embraced it."

Last August, SAP announced that it is using XML for its Internet-Business Framework. SAP has been working with Microsoft on developing XML specifications.

The server-centric PeopleTools 8 development platform will allow companies to create business-to-business infrastructures for PeopleSoft's suite of eBusiness applications.

The latest version of the PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance Management 8 (EPM) application will be the first PeopleSoft offering to include the toolbox, Littlefield said. Customers under maintenance will also get the toolkit. The latest version of EPM was unveiled with PeopleTools 8.

PeopleSoft's core products will have to wait until June to get PeopleTools 8, Littlefield said. The front ends of PeopleSoft's core products are being redesigned to be "more Weblike" to resemble those of Yahoo.com and Amazon.com, he said.

PeopleSoft Inc., in Pleasanton, Calif., is at www.peoplesoft.com.

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